Time For Course Correction

In an interesting editorial, The News notes that terrorism lives on after Osama and Pakistan will have to manage the problem.

The bombing demonstrates that the killing of the Al-Qaeda chief hasn’t solved anything. Terrorism lives on, and could grow in the country as anger against the US continues to mount. This is a problem Pakistan has been left to deal with and it is a difficult one to manage.

I think it’s interesting that The News says that terrorism “is a problem Pakistan has been left to deal with”, as if the Americans having killed Osama have abandoned Pakistan to its fate. That’s not the case at all. Actually the Americans would love to help us defeat the terrorists in our borders. According to our own military and intelligence officers they provide intelligence, training, weapons. They have even sent their commandos to kill terrorists here. American did not abandon Pakistan, we have told them to get out.

This is fine. I don’t like feeling like every gora I see may be a pistol packing Raymond Davis cowboy on a mission. But we can’t tell the Americans to leave and expect terrorism to stop without telling the terrorists to leave also.

A couple of pieces in Dawn by two of our best and brightest make the point that it is time for us to face the difficult reality. Huma Yusuf correctly notes that we need to stop looking outside to find the source of threat to our country:

In this context, parliament’s decision on Friday to revisit national security strategies is disappointing because of its focus on foreign relations (particularly the bilateral relationship with the US). What will it take for Pakistan to contend with the reality that its greatest threats are internal rather than external?

And in another column Moeed Yusuf correctly notes also that just as the threats are internal so are the solutions:

It is about time Pakistanis own up to the fact that our own house is not exactly in order. The principal failure is internal, and so is the fix.

Daily Times agrees also saying that “the game is up”, and we need to make changes to the way we are operating before the whole world loses patience.

One thing is clear though: the ‘game’ is up. Pakistan’s military cannot afford to play its usual double game anymore because the world’s, and particularly the US’s, patience has finally run out. Despite their denials and having confessed to incompetence and an intelligence failure, disbelief lingers that Osama was living in a compound near Kakul and yet no one in the army or the ISI was aware of his whereabouts.

We have the opportunity to use 1/5 as a turning point and put Pakistan back on the bath envisioned by Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah so many years ago. Decades ago, the nation was hijacked and driven off course. It does not have to be this way. The world is ready to forgive and forget strategic mistakes. We have seen this with other great countries including the US, Germany, Japan, Russia etc etc etc. By correcting the course we can avert a disaster that will come not from some hidden hand, but from our “strategic assets” stabbing us in the back.

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